What is RPAS?

RPAS stands for Remote Piloted Aircraft Systems and refers to any aircraft that is controlled by remote control, or some other means of automation. Some examples of commercially available RPAS Aircraft are the DJI Phantom, DJI Inspire, DJI M600 and TBS Discovery Pro.

What's the difference between an RPAS Aircraft and a Model Aircraft?

A Model Aircraft is flown only for hobby or sport.  Basically any sort of recreational activity.  An RPAS Aircraft is flown for commercial purposes, either as a charged fee or reward, or for your own commercial gain.  Using an RPAS to promote your own business is considered a commercial gain.

Do I need a Licence to Fly?

Recently CASA released new laws that allow you to fly certain aircraft without the need for a licence, and only under strict operating conditions.  These aircraft will need to be UNDER 2kgs in total weight. This is commonly referred to as “Sub2kg” –   Some of those conditions are;

You must only fly in the day – NO NIGHT FLIGHT!.
You must not fly closer than 30m to people – Including whom you are filming.
You must not fly within 3nm (5.5km) of a Towered/Controlled Airport.
You must fly only as far as you can visually orientate the aircraft.

You also can’t fly in Restricted Airspace such as Sydney Harbour etc.  And remember, insurance is VERY important

If you want to use fly a machine that is heavier than 2kg for a commercial gain, you will need to obtain RPAS Certification.

What is the "sub2kg" thing and how do I sign up?

Sub2kg is what the new laws are commonly reffered to as.  It’s what allows you to fly a smaller machine without licensing – with restrictions.

All you need to do is register on the CASA website and follow the instructions.


What is RPAS Certification?

In Australia, RPAS Certification is issued by the Civil Aviation and Safety Authority (CASA).  It can only be obtained by completing a CASA approved RPAS Training course with a CASA approved training organisation.  FPV Australia is a CASA Approved Training Organisation.

There are 2 parts.  The Pilot – He/She gets a Remote Pilot’s Licence

Then there is the Remote Operators Certificate, which is issued to the business wanting to run the drone operations.

How long does it take to get RPAS Certification?

Our RPAS Certificate course runs for 5 days and consists of both theory and practical study.  You will be required to pass an exam, and demonstrate your ability to fly a training quad.  You will be given practical flight training which will give you the necessary skills in order to pass the exams.

Why should I get RPAS Certification?

If you wish to fly anything heavier than 2kg (Bigger than say a Phantom) then you must obtain RPAS certification.  It is against the law to fly without it.

That said, it will allow you to gain insurance – EVEN if you want to fly Sub2kg.  Some insurance companies will give you insurance, if you have passed the RePL and obtained your Remote Pilot’s Licence.

If I get a Licence, can I fly at night?

Yes, of course you can.  CASA have now released procedures that will let you fly at night.  There is no extra course for this, it’s now part of a standard ReOC

I have heard I can fly close to people, like 15m. Is that true?

Well, yes you can, but under strict conditions.  Your aircraft will need to be fitted with dual batteries and be able to continue to fly if one motor is lost.  There is no extra training course for this, it’s now part of a standard ReOC.

Can I do the FPV Australia RPAS Course online?

No, for a number of reasons.  Firstly, the subject matter in this course is not something you would want to study online without guidance.  We have employed some of the country’s most highly decorated manned helicopter and fixed wing instructors, whom are also fully certified and very capable RPAS Pilots!   We honestly believe that the best way to get through RPAS Certification properly, is with the face to face guidance of a serious operator.

Don’t pay good money for a company to just send you the courseware.  Get in a classroom and get the most out of the training.  It will give you 200% more skill and knowledge than reading a web page.

Someone told me I need a Controller's Certificate - What is this for?

With the new laws comes new naming conventions.  When you complete our course and we submit to CASA, you will be issued with a Remote Pilot’s Licence.  The older Controller’s Certificates are still valid, and it is the same certification – as such – just a new way of naming it.

I have been told to do a UAV Controller's Course. Is that right?

Well, no.  There is no such course as a UAV Controllers Course.  Some companies are advertising their courses as a UAV Controller’s Course, or RPAS Training Course.  But the fact of the matter is, these are most likely PPL theory courses.  Only CASA can issue you with an RPAS Controller’s Certificate, once you sit and pass the CASA PPL theory exam.

Only an RTO like FPV Australia can offer you Remote Pilot’s Licence certification at the end of a course.

I have been told there is Unrestricted and Restricted Licence, is this correct?

No.  The new system is now all under one certification to fly.  When you complete your RPAS certification, you will be issued with a licence to fly up to 7kg.  This does not restrict you at all, and if you want to fly a larger machine, you can do so easily.  It’s simply a system that CASA has put in place to categorise pilots.

I have been told I can only fly aircraft weighing less than 7Kg, is this right?

No.  7Kg is just the starting weight category.  There is nothing stopping you from moving to higher weight classes, and the process is pretty simple.

I have been told I need to pass the PPL Exam. Is this correct?

No.  You DO NOT need to pass the PPL Exam to fly an RPAS Aircraft commercially.  It certainly is one way.  However, with the RPAS explosion there are many companies trying to cash in.  You see, there is no requirement for an organisation to be able to offer you theory tuition to pass the PPL exam.  You can even self study.  That said, sitting in a classroom for 4 days to study PPL will give you very little chance of getting the 70% pass mark you will need to obtain a pass in PPL.

These companies are misleading many people by convincing them that they must take PPL tuition and pass the PPL exam,  as these companies are unable to offer an RPAS License.   There are strict requirements from CASA in order to become a CASA approved training organisation.  You should only deal with a company that is certified to deliver the Remote Pilot’s Licence.

Why are PPL courses cheaper?

There are a few courses around claiming to be RPAS Controllers courses etc, and these can be a little misleading.  These courses will put you through the PPL theory, and you will need to apply to CASA yourself and go sit the exam.  The problem is, trying to pass the PPL exam after only 4 days of study is verging on impossible.  Ask a Pilot – they will tell you.  Only a registered training organisation certified by CASA can offer you complete certification.   Everyone else is offering tutoring on PPL theory.  Nothing more.

Will I learn how to fly an RPAS Aircraft on a PPL course?

No.  The PPL course is the theory side of flying a manned aircraft. You will learn about life jackets, passenger safety, de-icing carburettor type engines, and how to calculate how much fuel you will need to fly from say Sydney to Perth.  It is an intensive course that requires some serious study.  It does not cover a single topic on Remotely Piloted Aircraft.  Sadly we have students enrolling in our RPAS course after completing a PPL course, as they are still not able to pass the PPL exam with CASA.  It takes quite a bit of study to pass the PPL, and so it should – it’s designed for someone who wants to fly a full sized manned aircraft.

What is a Remote Operator's Certificate, and do I need one?

A Remote Operator’s Certificate is given to the company or individual that wants to operate RPAS Aircraft.  Consider it like an airline.  For example;

QANTAS is the Certified Operator and the pilot is the Certified Pilot.

If you want to fly commercially you will need to obtain both RPAS Pilot’s Licence (RePL), and a Remote Operator’s Certificate (ReOC) – both issued by CASA.  Unless you want to fly for someone else whom already has an Operator’s Certificate – in this case, you only need Remote Pilot’s Licence.

Once you have obtained your Remote Pilot’s Licence, you then simply apply to CASA for an Operator’s Certificate – We will help you with all the paperwork you need.  🙂

What is a Radio Operators Certificate, and do I need one?

To obtain your full remote pilot’s certification you will need to obtain a Radio Operator’s Certificate.  This use to be known as the Radio Operator’s Certificate of Proficiency or  AROCP.  This is now redundant.  You will now need an Aeronautical Radio Operator Certificate.  FPV Australia is approved to offer AROC Certification, and does so on all of it’s RPAS Certification courses at no extra charge.

Do I need to do a course to get an Operator's Certificate?

No.  Again, there are companies jumping on the RPAS explosion and convincing people that they need to come and do a course to obtain an Operator’s Certificate.  The fact is,  once you have your RPAS Licence, it’s an application to CASA.  Nothing more.  There certainly is a fair bit of paperwork involved, and unless you have the time and the knowhow, you might be better to have someone assist you.

Just some of documents that CASA will require are;

Flight Operations Manuals
Risk Management Manuals
Safety Management Manuals
Aircraft Flight Logs
Pilot Flight Logs
Maintenance Manuals

Again – You can create these documents yourself, or you can pay for someone to assist you.  We offer these manuals to all of our students FREE.

Once I have my RPAS Certification, can I fly other aircraft?

Yes!  Once you obtain your RPAS Certification, you can certainly fly other aircraft.  You will need to nominate them on the Operator’s Certificate you wish to fly under.

Some companies are telling their customers that once you obtain an RPAS Certificate, you can only fly that machine, and this is just incorrect.

If you complete FPV Australia’s RPAS Course, you will be certified to fly ANY Multicopter up to 7kg, to start with.  You can then step up to higher categories very easily.

You can actually fly any size RPAS aircraft you wish, by simply adding it to your OC at the time of application or at a later date by submitting a variation.

Can just anyone give me RPAS Certification?

No!  You can only get RPAS Certification from a CASA Approved RPAS Training Organisation.  FPV Australia is a CASA Approved RPAS Training Organisation.

Why Choose FPV Australia?

Easy – We are the best!  We not only have the best RPAS Certification program in the country, but we have the most qualified instructors in the country.  We worked hard in conjunction with Australia’s best aviation educators to bring you the best RPAS certification course you will find.  Don’t just take our word for it.  Have a look at the calibre of our customer base,  and it’s easy to see why you should choose FPV Australia as your training provider.